A listing on Microsoft’s store has revealed that the second-generation of Kinect sensors will be released for Windows PCs on July 15th, with a price tag of $199/£159. And although the device’s managing director, Bob Heddle, previously confirmed the Kinect sensor and SDK (software development kit) would be available for PC owners sometime this year, this is the first time that the release date and price tag have been clarified.
The release of Kinect on PC follows the controversy that arose when the peripheral originally came bundled with every Xbox One upon launch. Undoubtedly, Microsoft designed the device to be mandatory and a core function of the console itself, but later relaxed its stance in the wake of fan feedback.
As a result, Kinect usage is now entirely optional on the system, a choice Microsoft attributes to wanting to offer “a choice that would allow people to buy an Xbox One and then ramp up to Kinect when they can afford to.” Since this refined mission statement, a retail version of Xbox One sans Kinect has been available from June 9th.
It’s worth noting, though, that those users who picked up Kinect for (or indeed with) Xbox One will have to purchase the device again for use on PC, as the original 2.0 model isn’t compatible with Windows platforms.
“We’re continuing our commitment to equipping businesses and organizations with the latest natural technology from Microsoft so that they, in turn, can develop and deploy innovative touch-free applications for their businesses and customers,” Heddle explains. “A new Kinect for Windows sensor and software development kit (SDK) are core to that commitment.”
Microsoft strongly believes that Kinect will influence PCs to the point where voice and gesture experience on the platform becomes commonplace. Whether that turns out to be the case or not is still up for debate, but it will no doubt be interesting to see how the PC community reacts to this announcement.